McDaniels is one of the best athletes, if not the best athlete in the draft. He has a freak vertical, glides all over the court, and has great lateral quickness.
At 6’6 and a very good build despite only weighing 200 pounds, McDaniels presents slightly more size than most two guards. With 6'11 wing span and freakish athleticism, he matches up well against SF despite a slight height disadvantage and should defend both positions just fine.
McDaniels shows an improving basketball IQ, but is still a raw player. When first coming to Clemson, he came as an athletic talent, but needed to add quite a bit to his game. In his first year, he played mostly power forward and is still learning the in’s and out’s of defending the perimeter. However, he's not a player that makes a lot of boneheaded mistakes either, and he shows good anticipation.
Like many athletic players, McDaniels looks best in activities that require athleticism. Defensive is where he makes his biggest impact.
McDaniels can fight through screens when defending the perimeter and has the athleticism to come from behind and make a play even if initially beaten. He uses his speed, wing-span, and vertical leap with great skill to block shots, rebound, and generate steals.
At 6’6, McDaniels almost 3 blocks a game to go along with 7 rebounds. Averaging near 3 blocks a game at a non big-man position is almost unheard of. McDaniels is a great off the ball defender as he is able to roam all over the court. He still has room to improve his awareness and stance as he sometimes plays too upright, but overall is an excellent defender.
Offensively, McDaniels is at his best in transition and offensive rebounds. He can run the court like a deer and plays hard. McDaniels can also shoot the mid-range shot and is solid off screens. Occasionally, McDaniels can get by a defender with his first step, but I feel this part of the game might be taken away until he shows a much better perimeter jumper as he is not a natural playmaking guard.
While McDaniels is a freak talent and plays hard, he is also not the most aggressive player in the game offensively or defensively. There are many times, you might want him to want to be the ball handler for his team and take it to the rack, but he lacks the ball handling skills to drive. Besides a lack of ball handling, he also struggles as a shooter and only knocked down 30% of his threes.
Effectively, he offers a mid range shot and hustle points on offense at the moment which is a pretty poor offensive package for a guy who's coming out as a junior.
Overall, McDaniels reminds of Dahntay Jones with the ability to block shots during his prime. His draft range is likely the late teens to late 20s. While I feel he'll never be an offensive stalwart, he should be a great defender at the next level.
McDaniels would do well going to a team that is high pace offensively and needs some defense such as the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, or Golden State Warriors.
How does he fit with the Bulls?
The Bulls already have Jimmy Butler and a very lopsided team geared towards defense already. Also, Thibs’ scheme can cover many offensive teams and their schemes if he has good defenders at the power forward and center positions. For this reason, I would rather draft someone else.
That said, I would also rather draft him over a player such as P.J. Hairston or a T.J. Warren due to how I feel Coach Thibs would utilize McDaniels over those players. I also feel McDaniels would be useful if we plan on trading Jimmy Butler for an offensive player, or if we gear for a more well-rounded team offensively in general in free agency.
Overall, I would rather utilize picks on players that are more well-rounded two-way players. I feel we have enough defensive players and need to start gearing towards more offensive playmakers.
Overall, McDaniels is one of the safer players in the draft in terms of making the league and having a good career. He's still developing offensively and may show more down the road like Gerald Green, but Green came out of high school not his junior year of college. That said, his freak athleticism, well defined role, and good character will entice many teams.